A briefing on meth abuse in Hawaii held at the state capitol today focused on strategies to improve prevention, treatment and recovery aspects of meth abusers. Experts on drug abuse trends and issues joined State Representative John Mizuno in reviewing a draft of a bill that works to eliminate meth labs in Hawaii.
The proposed bill would list pseudoephedrine as a schedule III controlled substance, which would essentially take cough medicine drugs off over-the-counter shelves and make them only available with a prescription. Pseudoephedrine is a precursor in manufacturing crystal methamphetamine. In 2005, Oregon created a law that requires a prescription to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine.
Representatives from the Department of Health's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, the Honolulu Police Department, the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, Hina Mauka Drug Treatment Center, and the National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center gave brief presentations on the status of meth abuse in Hawaii.
Major Clayton Kau and Captain Lester Hite from HPD said since 2005 the number of drug labs discovered and shut down in Hawaii has decreased. There were 13 in 2005, 14 in 2006, 4 in 2007 and none in 2008 (as of August). However, there have been 12 drug lab investigations this year.
Alan Johnson, executive director of Hina Mauka said that meth abusers require longer stays and are more likely to relapse compared to alcoholics and marijuana addicts. Sixty percent of women drug abusers prefer crystal meth, while only 49 percent of male drug abusers do.
The National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center will be holding a free meth symposium, titled Unifying Strengths, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Please call Ed Gomes at 808-295-1483 for more information.
Photo (L-R): Priscilla Lisicich, Co-Director of the National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center; Alan Johnson, CEO of Hina Mauka; and Dr. William Haning, John A. Burns School of Medicine.